The Snowball: Warren Buffet

I recently read  “The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the business of life.”  It is an 838 page biography, along with another 91 pages of endnotes, of Warren Buffet – “the Oracle of Omaha.” 

In the event you have never heard of Warren Buffet his significance is that he started with nothing and went on to become the world’s wealthiest individual [worth over $60 billion] by investing in the stock market. 

The book is not only a biography on his life, but it is also, as would be expected, filled with the pearls of investing wisdom – foundational and inviolable principles that guided Buffett throughout his life. 

And there is one piece of advice that struck me as particularly profound that I would like to leave with you.  Its weight and significance comes from the fact that it is found on page 761 of an 838 page book – in the the 73rd year of his life.  Warren Buffett is addressing a group of students at Georgia Tech.   He was asked what had been his greatest success and greatest failure.  Here is his response:

“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually love you.

“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them.  But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them.  If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster. 

“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.  The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it.  You can buy sex.  You can buy testimonial dinners.  You can buy pamphlets that say how wonderful you are.  But the only way to get love is to be lovable.  It’s very irritating if you have a lot of money.  You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love.  But it doesn’t work that way.  The more you give love away, the more you get.”